How to Replace Your California Car Registration With Our Free Guide

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Welcome to, your comprehensive resource for all your vehicle registration-related information. The guide we provide is completely FREE OF CHARGE. You can also find available related information in other official sites or local offices. You can download for for free our comprehensive guide and resources, which contains vital information in order to perform any DMV service.


About Replacing Car Registration in California

You must replace a damaged or lost car registration in California if your original document sustains damages, disappears, or if you believe that someone may have stolen it. To replace a stolen, damaged or lost vehicle registration, you must submit your request by mail or by visiting your local department of motor vehicles (DMV) office.

Moreover, you may also need duplicate registration stickers and license plates if these items are damaged or lost. If you do not obtain the necessary replacements, you could face penalty fees, as driving without the proper credentials constitutes a traffic violation in California.

To replace these documents, you must complete an application before submitting your request in person or by mail. To learn more about how to replace a lost, damaged or stolen registration, review the sections below.

Replacing a Lost Registration in California

To replace car registration in CA, you can use one of two available methods. The first option is visiting your local DMV office to apply for a replacement credential in person. You can also submit your application by mail. Review the sections below to learn more about these two application methods.

In Person

To get a copy of registration credentials, you can visit a local DMV branch near you to submit your request in person. When purchasing a California auto registration replacement, you must complete an application and pay the applicable fee. If necessary, you may also choose to complete the process to change your registration address at this time.

By Mail

As an alternative to purchasing a duplicate car registration card in person, you may mail your completed application and payment for the applicable fee to the DMV’s Registration Operations Division in Sacramento. After applying by mail, however, you will not receive your replacement credentials as quickly as you would if you visited a local DMV office to apply in person.

Getting a California DMV Copy of Registration Stickers and License Plates

To obtain replacement car registration stickers and/or license plates, you must complete an application in person or by mail, and submit it along with other documents. If you wish to submit your request in person, you can schedule an appointment online before heading to your local DMV office.

Along with your completed application for a duplicate registration in CA, you may also need to present some of the following documents:

  • Proof of your identity
    • An acceptable proof of identity includes a California driver’s license, a valid U.S. passport and a military identification card.
  • Proof of vehicle ownership, such as a car title
  •  The vehicle’s remaining license plates, unless both plates were stolen from you
  •  Payment for the applicable fee.

To replace clean air decals, the application process differs slightly. To replace these lost auto registration credentials, you must complete an application for replacement clean air decals and mail it to the DMV, along with a check or money order as payment for the applicable fee. You do not need to surrender any remaining clean air decals during this time.

Can you print your car registration online in California?

If you need a duplicate vehicle registration in California, you must submit your request in person or by mailing a completed application to the California DMV. You cannot replace your vehicle’s registration documents online in California. However, you may choose to schedule an appointment online or by telephone before heading into your local DMV office to submit your request.